Category Archives: MainStreet Church Plant

Aboard the MainStreet Boat – 5th Anniversary Reflection

 

On January 15, 2017, MainStreet Covenant celebrated our 5th anniversary. Exactly five years ago, I preached an inaugural sermon telling the story of Erik August Skogsbergh, a renowned Swedish preacher and one of the founders of the Covenant, and of his dynamic ministry in Mound in the 1890s. In those days crowds took the train from the city to Lake Minnetonka on Sundays, getting off the train in Spring Park and boarding Captain Deering’s steamboat for the trip across West Arm Bay to Skogsbergh’s Point.

At the point they enjoyed picnics on Skogsbergh’s lawn, sang songs and  listened attentively to Bible expositions under Skogsbergh’s mulberry arbor. People came joyfully, people came expectantly. They went home spiritually recharged and sometimes forever changed. The Spirit was stirring hearts, and many experienced the gift of New Birth on the north shore of Minnetonka those many decades ago.

I have drawn much inspiration from the legacy of Skogsbergh’s Point these past five years. I have read and reread his personal memoirs and biography. Since moving few miles north a couple years ago, I now drive past his cottage (still standing on Rest Point on West Arm Bay) every day and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for his life and ministry. I try to imagine the crowd gathered on the shore, and the sound of his voice carrying across the bay as another heart is ignited and another soul won for the Kingdom.

Five years ago, at our Grand Opening service, I rallied people living in the Mound region to join our church-in-the-making by sharing the story of Skogsbergh’s boats. There were days when the crowds of Mission Friends (what early Covenanters called themselves) coming to the Point from Minneapolis on Sundays would not all fit on the steamboat, and so Skogsbergh built his own barge to provide an overflow taxi to his place. As the story goes, the people made it across the waters to the Point safely on the barge, but it was anything but a dry, comfortable ride!   Continue reading Aboard the MainStreet Boat – 5th Anniversary Reflection

MainStreet Kids Ministry Campaign

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-8-42-50-pm“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.” -JESUS

While MainStreet may not be growing large right now, we are certainly growing young! We average about 60 in worship but have 25 regular kids (ages 0-12) who are growing bigger each day crammed into a small nursery and one classroom! Three “belly babies” are also on the way!

Sadly, a recent conversation went like this: “We’re new to the area and looking for a church home. We’ve heard good things about MainStreet, but looking at your kids’ space I can see you don’t have room for our family with 5 kids.” It’s hard to grow a church when you can’t accommodate new families’ children!

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-49-17-amThankfully, the space next door recently became available. We just signed a lease to begin building out additional classrooms off our existing kids’ hallway.  We know God’s hand is on this church and our children, and we are determined to not let space limitations “hinder” any young ones from coming to know Jesus!

We are inviting MainStreeters and our many mission partners to help us raise funds for this project. God has already overwhelmed us with financial gifts enabling us to add a future children’s ministry staff hire to the budget as well. See below for ways you can participate.

You can give safely and securely online at our website here, or send donations to:

MainStreet Covenant Church, 5221 Shoreline Drive, Mound, MN 55364

Thanks for your continued investment in this growing church community!

Pastor Jeremy

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-26-44-am

A Thanksgiving Letter

Here’s a fun blast from the past. I wrote this to our Launch Team and supporters a before we launched into weekly worship services. God has continued to pour out blessings and grow this church. A fun look back!

DAILY ILLUMINATION | Reports from the intersection of faith & everyday life.

Dear MainStreet friends,

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2011, Keri and I have much to be thankful for.

The past year has been perhaps the most difficult and most satisfying year of our lives.  One year ago, I was unemployed and scrambling to raise seed money to start planting MainStreet. We had just found out we were pregnant, and my superhuman pregnant wife had picked up a second job at the mall for the holidays, while going to school two nights a week, trying to keep our bills paid. I was working day and night casting vision and gathering support , but was discouraged I couldn’t provide financially for my family.

Our small Launch Team was a bit tired and discouraged moving into Christmas wondering where we would find enough people to move our mission forward. A year ago we were just beginning our relationship with Excelsior Covenant and it would…

View original post 411 more words

Feeling the Love at MainStreet!

Here’s a sweet and thoughtful video our church put together for Keri and I for Pastor Appreciation Month. All I can say in return is “Thanks for being such a fun, grace-filled, caring and committed church family to lead.”

I hear other pastors complain about the shenanigans they have to put up with — petty complaints, internal division, relational conflicts, stagnant attenders going through the motions, disgruntled elders, stubborn old church ladies, etc. —  and I always walk away thinking, “Wow, I’m blessed to shepherd this particular flock!” Continue reading Feeling the Love at MainStreet!

Sunday2Serve: The Church has Left the Building!

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.08.07 AM.pngWhen the church bells ring on Sunday morning, July 31, you’ll find several local church sanctuaries empty. But this doesn’t mean they won’t be worshiping. “Most Sundays we worship God with words and music,” says Pastor Meg Newswanger of First Presbyterian in Maple Plain. “On July 31 we will worship God with our hands and feet, by serving others in Christ’s name.” Several area churches are joining together in a new inter church initiative called Sunday 2 Serve organized by the Westonka Ministerial Association, a monthly gathering of pastors from Westonka area churches and beyond. Perhaps you have seen the blue signs blanketing the town.

In place of regular worship services, churches are going out to serve people and needs in the community. Projects include things like making sandwiches for the homeless, raking leaves and cleaning houses of elderly and shut-ins, picking up trash along the roads, visiting people at a nursing home, painting fire hydrants, school improvement projects, assembling care kits for cancer patients, and more. In the words of Pastor Dave Abernathy of Mound Evangelical Free Church, “Churches exist not only to celebrate and communicate the gospel Jesus Christ, but also to demonstrate that gospel.”

The idea for Sunday 2 Serve came about when two churches discovered they were already doing this on their own, and the impact could be multiplied by inviting other churches into the fun. One of those churches was MainStreet Covenant Church led by Pastor Jeremy Berg, the current chair of the Westonka Ministerial Association. “As our church name implies, MainStreet was started 5 years ago with the mission of bringing hope beyond the church walls and into the streets of our city,” says Pastor Berg. “To this end we have devoted a Sunday morning for serving our neighbors each year we’ve been in existence.”

 

The other church is Freshwater Community with campuses in St. Boni and Waconia. Freshwater mobilized their larger congregation to go out and serve last summer with remarkable impact. Over 600 people participated in 19 different projects in four different communities. “The experience blessed both those being served and those going out to serve,” Pastor Van Tassel remarks. “Its amazing to see how much can be accomplished in only a couple hours on a Sunday morning when we all come together as Christians.”

So far 8 churches are participating in Sunday 2 Serve this July including St. John’s Lutheran, Bethel United Methodist, MainStreet Covenant, St. Martin’s Episcopal, First Presbyterian, Freshwater Community, and Mound Evangelical Free. Mount Olive Lutheran is hosting an “after party” for participants to stop by between 11AM-1PM to enjoy food & refreshments, fellowship & testimonies, and family friendly musical entertainment by the Teddy Bear Band. One project is bringing generations together. MainStreet Covenant is partnering with Lake Minnetonka Shores (Presbyterian Homes) to enable young children to serve alongside the elderly in making sandwiches for the homeless at Lake Minnetonka Shores.

The people and organizations who have been touched by these efforts are eager to share their appreciation. One outreach MainStreet does is to the Meals on Wheels clients who often have disabilities and therefore needs around the house — especially spring cleaning and yard work. After having her house cleaned, one woman was holding back tears as she said, “Because of my disability, my husband has to do everything — buy groceries, cook, laundry, work a full time job — and the house just never gets cleaned. And I have to sit in the mess everyday all day, and can’t do anything about it. You have no idea how much this cleaning help means to me!”

Sojourn Adult Day Center has been another beneficiary of this outreach as crews of volunteers have come over to help clean their center in Mound the past couple years. Kari Johnson, Program Director at Sojourn, remarks, “By serving in this way, churches are saying “We see you! We’re glad you’re in our community! You matter to us so much that we want to give our time to bless your life! That is so powerful!”

A couple springs ago Christine Zachow, principal at Grandview Middle School, expressed her appreciation for a crew who helped clean up the school grounds: “I just drove by Grandview on my way home from a choir concert and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The flower beds look amazing! Thanks to your efforts, we can actually see and enjoy the sprouts that tell us summer is right around the corner. On behalf of our staff, students and myself, please pass along my thanks to your wonderful volunteers!”

In a world where the news cycle constantly highlights our differences and how they divide us, the organizers of Sunday 2 Serve hope to provide a beautiful display of unity as churches of different traditions come together around a shared mission to love and serve their neighbors. “St. John’s is excited to connect with other churches in the community as we address needs in our area,” says Pastor Jeff Heiderscheit.  “I am encouraged to see the one, universal, Christian church standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our community.” Pastor Berg hopes that “everywhere people look that Sunday morning they’ll see people in matching light blue shirts making a difference all over our communities.”

Everyone is welcome to participate in Sunday 2 Serve. If you would like to participate (and your church was not able to participate this year), you are welcome to contact any of the participating churches above to get involved).

 

Continue reading Sunday2Serve: The Church has Left the Building!

On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand

jerrock
Jeremy back in 2010 dreaming of a future church. Lonely and scared…but choosing faith.

Over 5 Years ago I sat on this rock feeling extremely lonely and scared. God called Keri and I to start a church in Mound, and I often came to pour out my doubts to the LORD in prayer on this rock.

Then one night I heard God speak Matthew 16 directly to me, “Jeremy, upon this rock I will build my church in Mound, and not even the gates of Hell will be able to stop it.” I needed to be reminded that Jesus was going to build his church — not me. :)  Feeling a lot lighter, I walked away and set to work in doing my part. God did the rest.

This past Sunday on our all-church prayer walk this place of doubt and loneliness became a place of joyful community and worship as we celebrated God’s faithfulness to His promise (see top photo). Keri and I obeyed God, stepped out in faith, and God made good on his promise to build (and He’s still building) the most magnificent church!

Thanks to all those MainStreeters who have been been a direct answer to our prayers and who have helped God form this rock solid church. May we always stay anchored on Christ our Rock, our firm foundation.

Read some journal posts I wrote a few years ago about this significant rock here.

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, 

All other ground is sinking sand.”

DSC_0063
Jeremy sharing the story of the rock this past Sunday.

Upon This Rock

Nocturnal Summer 4

For fun I’m reposting a summer series from 2010 from when I took a paper route while trying to get MainStreet started. Enjoy!

Almost every night on my paper route this past summer and fall, I would stop into Super America for junk food and pop.  Don’t tell Keri.

Richard is the cashier for the graveyard shift, and we actually worked together back in high school at the local nursing home.  He remembered me, and we would spend ten minutes of bantering every morning as I purchased my Mountain Dew and Snickers.

Richard is a baseball fanatic.  We would shoot the breeze about the Twins and he would tell me about his recent road trip to Chicago to see the Twins at White Sox.  I came to discover that Richard has a unique hobby of buying official MLB score books and scoring old games.  He mentioned the desire to have the chance to score all the games of the 1991 Twins World Series.

As “luck” would have it, I happen to have all of those 7 games recorded off the TV on VHS tapes — old commercials and all!  So, Richard and I began this fun little thing where I would drop off one tape for him to watch and score, and then when he was done, I’d exchange it for the next game.

It’s February, and it’s time for me to get him game 6.  Unfortunately, I don’t get out to SA after midnight these days.  Those who remember the ’91 series realize how cruel it is to leave Richard waiting for game 6 and 7!

But these are the kinds of relationships that are fun when you are starting a church and trying to invite others into community.  I hope to invite Richard to join our LifeGroup sometime in the future — as soon as I feel like making a midnight walk to Super America. Richard is also someone I would never have come across had I not been driving the lonely streets of Mound all night on this paper route.